Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
How can she fix our problems when Pelosi doesn't even know the price of a gallon of gas? SanFranNan is out of touch. While prices soar, the Democrat Congress blocks further exploration and refuses to suspend federal gas taxes to give us some relief!
If you haven't already read my take on the much exagerrated "death" of the Philadelphia lawyer you can read it by clicking here. And of course I invite you to e-mail it to anyone else who might be interested.
The corpse's hand is holding a briefcase.
And the cover asks: "Who killed the Philadelphia lawyer?"
We're promised a tale of "greed, mergers, ego." . . .
Read the rest of my op-ed from today's Philadelphia Daily News by clicking here.
Monday, April 28, 2008
of the Washoe County Bar Assoc. in Reno, Nevada has just sent us this report about the seismic develop
ments in "The Biggest Little City In The World:"
When even Drudge is warning us to hunker down, you know it's serious. Feels like we're facing the end of time here - the quake "swarm" is getting pretty entertaining. The 4.7 Friday night tossed us out of bed and knocked off pictures, items off shelves and even dropped one of kayaks that hang up at the top of the garage by a few inches. We have many new hairline cracks around doors and windows. Amazingly, the only thing that broke was the lid to an old sugar bowl. We had an ancient bottle of brandy that we got from my husband's parents' old drugstore. It sat up on the top of the cabinets with other old booze bottles. The first thing I saw in the kitchen was that bottle sitting in a partially open drawer next to the fridge - that drawer opened about 3 inches and caught the brandy!
They settled a little yesterday and I actually caught myself missing the rumble that precedes the shaking. I'm not sure what that says about me. Now, they are warning for something bigger. We had about 10 that we could feel this a.m. between 4:30 a.m. and the time I left for work - a 4.2 that didn't feel that big (I'm a regular on the seismo lab's page now) and several aftershocks. You can hear the quake before it hits; it sounds a little like the school bus that rolls down our street twice a day. I found myself this morning (after the 4:30 quake) just kind of waiting patiently and sort of rolling with it. Must be the yoga kicking in.
We haven't done any of the preparation stuff, but we may have to rethink that. Jugs of water at least. I've got some good friends from our Friends of Mt. Rose enviro group who are geologists, seismologists and Desert Research people. They've indicated to watch for a bigger one.
Here's what a day looks like at the seismo lab:
Reporting from the (moving) ground in Reno,
The Associated Press has already describe Wright's appearance as "defiant" and noted that Wright said he's told Obama that if he is elected in November and is inaugurated in January, "I'm coming after you." He said that's because his differences are not with the American people, but U.S. policies.
Wright also refused to take back any of the words of his controversial sermons saying "there is no excuse" for the things that the American government has done and declaring that the government of this country "grinds under people" [grinds people under]. Regarding 9/11, he repeated that "if you engage in terrorism you will have terrorism committed against you."
He said America's leaders must "apologize for racism and slavery" and "until that apology comes" he doesn't feel a need to apologize for anything he's said about America.
Of Obama, he said: "He speaks as a politician and does what a politician does and I speak as a pastor and do what a pastor does. . . He did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks, like you, having never heard the complete sermon. He had to distance himself - because he's a politician - from what the media was saying I said . . . He [Obama] said I 'didn't offer any words of hope.' How would he know? he never heard the rest of the sermon."
He revealed that just before Obama made his formal announcement of his presidential candidacy last year at the Illinois Statehouse, he [Wright] prayed with the Obamas and their children "downstairs."
He compared America's "troops stationed all over the world" to the age of Roman "imperialism" and talked about "ages of oppression" adding: "Yes, I can compare that because we have troops stationed all over the world. We run the world."
He said that he did not speak up in the immediate aftermath of the controversy surrounding his remarks because he was trying to follow "my mother's advice, which is 'better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.'" Wright said "they [the media] were trying to make a fool of me." He said he finally decided to speak up "to defend the tradition of the black church."
In one of the last questions Wright answered (about whether or not he thinks it is God's will for Obama to be President) Wright said that "if God intends for Mr. Obama to be President then no white racist, no candidate and no political pundit will get in the way; for God will do what God wants to do."
Sunday, April 27, 2008
If the Democrats somehow contrive to blow this presidential election, they should be consigned to the dustbin of history - or to a display case at the Smithsonian, where perhaps they can share space with the Whigs.
Seriously, think about it. The economy is tanking, yet their autumn opponent, John McCain is on record saying, "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." The Iraq war continues to kill our kids and bleed us to the tune of $3 billion a week, yet McCain, who sometimes confuses the Sunnis with the Shiites, remains its unapologetic cheerleader. Meanwhile, nearly 80 percent of the American people think the country is on the wrong track - a legacy of the current Republican president, who now has the highest disapproval rating (69 percent) in the history of the Gallup poll.
Yet, McCain is deadlocked in the polls with his two Democratic rivals. He is traipsing around the nation on his "Time for Action Tour," blissfully unscathed and husbanding his septuagenarian strengths, while the Obama and Clinton armies burrow ever deeper into their respective trenches, emerging every so often to impale themselves on barbed wire, generally mimicking the bloody stalemate on the western front in World War I . . .
A friend writes of his love for Chick-Fil-A and a recent experience:
I felt like Chick-Fil-A today, I really did. But the Chick-Fil-A across the street from us is still an empty shell advertising "help wanted," so I opted instead for the closer, operational option -- McDonald's.
What is being prominently displayed on the McDonald's menu? The Southern Style Chicken sandwich -- a lone, seasoned chicken patty accompanied only by two pickles peaking ever-so-slightly from the plain, seedless bun. Its model was very immediately apparent, but I had to ask to be sure. The manager replied more directly than I would have expected: "Have you ever had Chick-Fil-A?"
I ordered two.
For research purposes, of course.
While tasty, the sandwiches felt altogether ... hmmm ... off. It's like trying to make your own Beef with Broccoli: the ingredients may all be there ... you may prepare it exactly the same way ... but you'll never match the way your favorite chinese take-out place makes it. It just cannot be replicated.
And in a move that McD's may have seen as an improvement, McDonald's opted for its usual, premium-sandwich paper box. But there's magic in Chick-Fil-A's little foil bag. When taken out, the Chick-Fil-A may look like it has been sat on in a warm, poorly ventilated car for a few hours, but somehow, someway, that bag marinates and strengthens the whole sandwich. The first bite into any Chick-Fil-A sandwich is always almost overpowering ...
While the McD's chicken is a near-perfect rip-off (though the McD's version is more consistently shaped), the bun is noticeably softer. The pickles are sweeter ... too sweet ... and therefore complement the sandwich less. I watched the gentleman in the kitchen prepare my sandwich, and noticed that the placement of the pickles seemed deliberately careless, unlike the truly careless preparation at Chick-Fil-A.
As I finished my chicken sandwich, I felt a little ashamed. A little like I was cheating. I thought about driving to the nearest Chick-Fil-A 20 minutes away and redeeming myself with an original, but I didn't have the stomach for it -- literally and figuratively. There's always dinner, I guess.
Friday, April 25, 2008
The political circus left town earlier this week but The Greatest Show On Earth is still in Philadelphia at the Wachovia Spectrum with final performances on Saturday (4/26) and Sunday (4/27).
If you haven't been to this "Over The Top" edition of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus this year hurry on over for the magic, daring and spectacle of the Big Top. I've just returned and not only do I finally feel like spring is in the air but I'm a kid again. The entire show is delightful: whimsical, engaging, thrilling, and colorful with edge-of-your-set action and old-fashioned laughs.
This touring version of the circus seems a bit more intimate (with its one main ring) than its sister edition which tours simultaneously but with completely different acts. But anyway you look at it the circus provides plenty of value for your entertainment dollar.
There are performances on Saturday at 11, 3 and 7 and then again on Sunday at 1 and 5and tickets can be purchased on site or online.
And, if you miss the circus now, don't fret. You can still see it at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton where it will perform 10 shows from May 10 through the 14th. You can order tickets for the Trenton engagement through comcasttix.com.
BTW: Kudos to our friends Ike Richman, Eric Nemeth and everyone at Comcast Spectacor for doing such a great job of promoting the circus every year.
President Bush reopened the renovated room in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the morning of July 11, 2007.
The Newseum features seven levels of galleries and theaters where you can see artifacts such as the door that burglars taped during the Watergate break in, the notes that JFK took during his historic 1960 debate with Nixon, the microphones that FDR used to deliver his fireside chats and the charred electronic transmission tower from the top of the World Trade Center. You can easily spend four hours or more at The Museum which makes it worth every cent of its $20 admission price. Don't miss it!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell - Understood the people and politics of his state and showed true grit.
Philly Mayor Michael Nutter - Nerdy, you say? Don't be fooled. He's shrewd, patient and tough.
Hill, Bill and Chel - Each played his or her role to the hilt. And, Chelsea emerged as a public personality in her own right.
Terry McAullife and Lanny Davis - Turns out loyalty still means something, at least for some people.
Rush Limbaugh - Yes, Rush. His 'operation chaos' was important to Hillary's victory.
Pittsburgh Tribune Review - Hillary was smart to meet with the newspaper's editorial board and the newspaper was smart to endorse her.
AFSCME and AFT - Big union power in Hill's corner.
John McCain - The more they fight each other the less time (and money) they have to beat up on him and the GOP.
The media crush and huge assemblage of Clintonistas and party faithful made for an atmosphere that was at once festive and perplexing.
Festive because it was clear that Clinton would once again deny Mr. Wonderful the moment he yearns for - the knockout. But perplexing as well because these people are tired and somewhat confused, and even bemused. They don't have a clue what's going to happen next or how the road to the nomination will eventually open up for them - if at all. They only know that somehow or other they are determined to find a way - find a way or make one.
Back to the would-be bystanders: Looking at the hundreds of assembled media reps you could see their faces drop as Hillary's lead continued to build over the course of the evening. They want to write the story they came to write: Mr. Charisma conquers all. They've written this story over and over again in their heads but they can't get to play it out for real. It must be maddening.
How they crave a handsome, young, charismatic candidate/President right out of some longed-for storybook - so magical, so stunning, so Hollywood!
And yet the dream keeps escaping.
I'll have more details of the happenings inside the Ballroom later this morning but I wanted to give you these first impressions as I returned from the inside of this endless campaign.
In later posts I'll chronicle the winners and losers from last night; try to explain why and how all this happened; attempt to fill you in on all this spectacular drama and prognosticate a bit about what may happen next. Oh, and there will be pictures, too.
But for now I'm gonna try to get a little shuteye.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Erick at Redstate.com, has a bombshell post with yet another example of a Barack Obama associate and adviser who does not hold the values the vast majority of Americans hold dear.
This time, it is a media and technology adviser to Obama named Larry Lessig. It seems Lessig trains folks who work for Google. In one of his sessions with Google employees, Lessig showed a video that shamefully mocks Jesus Christ - portraying him parading around in a diaper and singing until he is run over by a bus. On the video, Lessig tells the audience, "This is a little bit touchy to some people. I don't get it, so just chill. The underlying message here is that Jesus does survive."
So, they're setting the bar extraordinarily high for Hillary tomorrow in Pennsylvania. They're saying she has to win by double digits - anything else will be considered a defeat.
And, they're adding that even a huge popular vote victory in the keystone state will not give her a leg up on the nomination, noting that she can only net 10 to 15 delegates out of Pennsylvania.
Let's face it: Most of the media simply don't want Hillary to win. They don't want Mr. Wonderful to have to squirm at all. They feel the nomination is rightfully his.
But pollster John Zogby says that polling over the past weekend shows late-deciding voters breaking Hillary's way. "If a 10-point victory is the pundit-driven threshold she needs on Tuesday, it looks like she can do it," Zogby explains. "This does not look like a one-day anomaly – undecideds dropped to only 5% in this latest single day of polling, and they are breaking Clinton’s way . . . if white and Catholic voters, who still are the biggest portion of undecideds, actually vote, Clinton will have her double-digit victory."
More from Zogby: While Obama continues to lead in eastern Pennsylvania by a 53% to 37% margin, he lost ground in the central part of the state – Clinton now leads there by 16 points, up from eight points in earlier polling late last week. Clinton also expanded her edge in western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, and now leads there, 56% to 33% . . . Clinton was also seen as the candidate who better understands Pennsylvania – by an almost two-to-one margin.
If you recall, this same pattern prevailed in Ohio. Late-deciders broke Hillary's way and she scored a decisive victory. Stay tuned.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Partly thanks to an increasingly likable image, the Republican presidential candidate has pulled even with the two Democrats still brawling for their party's nomination, according to a new Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll.
". . . an Israeli assault on a neighborhood in Gaza is terrorism;" Ayers says.
And Ayers also says that "The U. S. bombings in Vietnam for a decade were acts of terrorism."
Ayers compares both of these to Sherman's March to the Sea which he describes as "indefensible terror."
Of terrorism, Ayers says the U. S. government "does it routinely."
Yes, Ayers admits that Arabs are capable of terrorism as well.
But Ayers also says that capitalism "is exhausted as a force for progress: built on exploitation, theft, conquest, war, and racism . . ." Ayers proclaims "that capitalism and imperialism must be defeated and a world revolution . . . must win."
But don't worry about Obama's association with Ayers. It's just a diversionary issue; nothing to be concerned about.
Now the connection has surfaced in the most recent televised debate and is attracting the glare of the national media.
To hear Obama tell it, Ayers is just a guy "who lives in my neighborhood." But as Ben Smith at Politico has reported Ayers and Obama "have crossed paths repeatedly in the last decade. In 1997, Obama cited Ayers’ critique of the juvenile justice system in a Chicago Tribune article on what prominent Chicagoans were reading. He and Ayers served together on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago for three years starting in 1999. In 2001, Ayers also gave $200 to Obama’s state Senate reelection campaign." And Obama has also been linked to 60s radical Bernardine Dohrn.
When it comes to people like Rev. Wright, Dohrn, Ayers and others, what's at question is Obama's judgment - his judgment in continuing to associate with people such as this; his judgment is refusing to walk away from them; his judgment in not seeing the dangers in the views espoused by these individuals. Now, Obama's unwillingness to face up to the situation suggests a level of arrogance and immaturity that we'd do well to reject.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Corzine and the Democrats boasted before last year's election that they had achieved sustainable property tax relief for New Jersey homeowners. Apparently, they meant sustainable for one year.
A state official defended the purchase of those lighters noting that they are outdoor lighters for the inmates when they "go out to recreation," and adding that inmates are not allowed to have personal lighters or matches. Just last month the Legislature passed a bill, A-2308, which banned smoking altogether on the grounds of state psychiatric hospitals.
With only four days until the Pennsylvania Primary, Tom says he wants to leave his choice up to the people. Last week, this Scranton Mayoral candidate announced on his web page, VoteTomRyan.com, that he was selected as one of Pennsylvania's unelected superdelegates. As a result, he has received numerous emails asking questions like "How did you become a Superdelegate?" and "Do you think its fair that you could overturn the will of the people?"
Visitors to VoteTomRyan.com can vote in a poll asking who Tom should support, Clinton or Obama. There will be a new video everyday between now and the primary. Out of 700 Superdelegates, only a little over 200 are actually known. TomRyan says he wants to show that superdelegates "are not the faceless, anonymous elites that the media has made them out to be. '
Ask Luke and Nina.
Luke and Nina help to coordinate visual merchan-
dising for Hugo Boss. And that means they keep a steadfast eye on the look, the sound and the feel of every Hugo Bass store from the outward appearance of the store to the sound environment inside, the placement of the clothes, the colors, the lighting and everything else that you see and/or hear. We chatted with Luke and Nina and they told us that it all comes under visual merchandising. Nothing is left to chance and everything is geared toward eye appeal.
Last night the visual merchandising at the Hugo Bass store in the mammoth King of Prussia Mall included Phillies star pitcher Cole Hamels (pictured) and beautifully prepared treats from the Mall's California Cafe. It was a lovely evening that also featured wine selections and drinks prepared with Bluecoat gin.
A word about Cole: he is one of the most articulate, polished, and gracious athletes I've ever met. This San Diego native is not just The Pitcher From Central Casting, he's also an appealing ambassador for his team and for major league baseball. I watched him interact with some of the youngsters who came out to see him last night and he was attentively kind and natural.
A winning night for Hugo Boss and (we hope) a winning season for our Fightin Phils!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
It could not have been the performance Obama wanted to have six days before the state's primary, at a time when he needed to reassure voters who might have been put off by his recent remarks about "bitter" small-town residents in the state who "cling" to religion and guns because of their economic frustration.
At one point Obama said, "I revere the American flag – and I would not be running for president if I did not revere this country." That is not a good thing for a candidate to have to say.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The entire first FORTY FIVE MINUTES of the debate were about things that Obama does not like to talk about: the flag lapel pin, William Ayers, The Rev. Not-So-wRight, the "bitter" comments, guns, religion, patriotism. Obama fumbled while trying to deal with these matters to such an extent that at one point he said he had "disowned" Rev. Wright. Called on this by "Georgie Boy" Stephanopoulos, the OH!man quickly backtracked and said he "disowned" Wright's comments. And the hair-splitting continued as Obama tried to have it both ways on the flag issue and then professed his patriotism by saying "I could not help but love this country." Wow - what a ringing endorsement that was for America!
Then, even when the debate turned to foreign affairs Obama was once again put on the defensive when he had to reassure Americans that he actually supports Israel.
Here's the way Obama works: If it's an issue he can't handle or doesn't want to talk about he declares that it's extraneous - some kind of petty "trick" that we shouldn't be talking about. But all of these quirks, all of these associations, all of the questionable characters that he surrounds himself with, all of the bad syntax and instances of misspeak go to his judgment. And that's the real issues here: his judgment - or obvious lack thereof.
In the end the sense deepens that Obama is stubborn and insecure.
How much does Gibson get paid and he still can't get the name right?
Among their charitable donations in 2007 was $26,270 to Trinity United Church of Christ, where the incendiary sermons of Obama's former pastor have created problems for the candidate.
Obama keeps saying he's got a lot of problems with Wright's views and sermons, but damn -- that hasn't stopped him from funneling a lot of dough The Reverend's way!
Congratulations to federal Judge William Martini who presided over this case. Bill Martini was a classmate of mine at Villanova University. Kudos also to our fine U. S. Attorney Christopher Christie.
Now let's put some more corrupt public officials in jail and clean up Joisey!
Cardinal Foley answered without hesitation: "He wants everyone to know that religion is a source of peace and fulfillment. It brings happiness and contentment."
Really? I thought religion was something you "cling to" along with "guns" and "antipathy toward those who are not like you" when you are filled with "bitterness."
Thanks, Cardinal Foley. I'd have never known.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The network said she'll host the 9 a.m. EDT hour April 22, the morning of the Pennsylvania primary. By that time in the four-hour morning show, politics is usually set aside for issues that affect women, who make up the majority of the audience during that time period.
Mrs. Bush will participate in several segments and interviews, NBC said Tuesday.
She will be joined earlier in the broadcast by her daughter Jenna to talk about their new children's book, "Read All About It!"
The first lady will also give Ann Curry a tour of the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas.
"During the Great Depression, with many millions of Americans out of work and the country suffering the worst economic crisis in our history, there rose from small towns, rural communities, inner cities, a generation of Americans who fought to save the world from despotism and mass murder, and came home to build the wealthiest, strongest and most generous nation on earth.
They suffered the worst during the Depression, but it did not shake their faith in, and fidelity to, America. They did not turn to their religious faith and cultural traditions out of resentment and a feeling of powerlessness to affect the course of government or pursue prosperity. On the contrary, their faith had given generations of their families' purpose and meaning, as it does today."
Monday, April 14, 2008
You read it here first.
Back on December 12 (more than FOUR MONTHS ago) I wrote: "It seems Italians are beginning to realize that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to chuck Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his right-of-center government last year."
Now, Bella Italia has joined France and Germany in making a decisive turn to the right. (Can England be far behind?) Here's the latest from the Associated Press:
Media billionaire Silvio Berlusconi won a decisive victory Monday in Italy's parliamentary election, setting the colorful conservative and staunch U.S. ally on course to his third stint as premier.
The victory in voting Sunday and Monday by parties supporting the 71-year-old Berlusconi avenged his loss two years ago to a center-left coalition.
"I'm moved. I feel a great responsibility," he said in a phone call to RAI public television while monitoring election results at his villa outside Milan. Italian news agencies said he had a private dinner with key aides.
Berlusconi capitalized on discontent over Italy's stagnating economy and the unpopularity of Romano Prodi's government.
"Berlusconi won because he has a strong coalition and because people feel that on the other side, the government is going to take them nowhere."
This was Berlusconi's fifth consecutive national election campaign since 1994, when he stepped into politics from his media empire, currently estimated to be worth $9.4 billion
Berlusconi has also affirmed himself as one of Israel's closest friends in Europe.
On Monday, he said he would make his first foreign trip as the new premier by visiting Israel to mark the Jewish state's 60th anniversary. He said it would be a show of support for "the only real democracy in the Middle East."
Berlusconi's party and its allies won strong victories in both houses of parliament despite a strong final sprint by his main rival, Walter Veltroni, who ran a campaign that could have come out of Barack Obama's playbook, with calls to "Vote for change" and supporters armed with "We can!" banners.
In the 315-member Senate, Berlusconi was projected to control 167 seats to Veltroni's 137. In the lower house, his conservative bloc led with 46 percent of the votes to 39 percent.
Bravo, Bravo Berlusconi. Molto bene. Bona fortuna!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
We thank you for visiting - and for returning again and again.
Remember - you'll find new material here every day, throughout the day. And we continue to welcome your comments and input.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008
Sen. Joseph Lieberman's friends are certain that if Democrats expand their one-vote Senate edge in this year's elections, they will kick him out of the Senate Democratic caucus and, therefore, oust him as Homeland Security Committee chairman.
Lieberman risked the usual punishment of ejection from the party caucus when he endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain for president and actively campaigned for him. But with Democrats in a Senate majority of only 51 to 49, they would lose control if Lieberman defected to the Republicans.
After being defeated by an anti-Iraq war candidate in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic primary, Lieberman kept his Senate seat in the general election by running as an independent and now calls himself an "Independent Democrat." He became Homeland Security chairman under the Democrats' strict seniority rules by remaining in the party caucus.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I'll be voting 'No!'
It's not that I don't care about schools. It's not that I don't care about kids. I care deeply about both.
But school budgets climb year after year and they represent the bulk of our property taxes - the nation's highest property taxes. Politicians must get the message that these increases simply have to end. And voting 'NO' on the school budget is one of the only ways we have to get the message across - it's one of our only vehicles to drive the point home.
So much money is wasted at all levels of government that we must demand thrift and accountability. Every board, agency, commission - every elected official - must hear our voice loud and clear. Until we use our muscle at the ballot box, nothing will change.
Send a message - vote 'NO' on Tuesday!
The Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress (GPLSC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, has named Bonnie Grant as executive director, effective April 1.
The GPLSC grew out of Philadelphia hosting the 2005 BIO convention, which had more than 18,000 attendees and an economic impact of $35 million.
The GPLSC strives to connect leaders in higher education and research institutions, venture capital entities, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and the health care communities to position the Philadelphia region as a world-class destination for meetings and conventions.
Grant has more than 20 years experience in marketing and communications in the education, government, corporate and non-profit sectors, including nine years as deputy city representative under Mayors Rendell and Street. Most recently, she served as director of communications for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition.
“The life sciences affect everyone,” said Grant. “From research to finding a cure for a disease and new drugs to treat it, to attracting new and innovative businesses to our region – this sector provides passionate and provocative topics that drive policy making and touch people on every part of the planet, all of which require the meeting of great minds. We want those minds to meet here in Philadelphia.”
And you're the one to make it happen, Bonnie. Congratulations!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
No matter that the state is deeply and debt. No matter that we are one of the highest-taxed states in the nation. No matter that the state legislature and the Governor have done nothing to tackle the state debt or lessen the burden on taxpayers.
This time it's the paid family medical leave bill which will create a new state fund and tax the typical worker an additional $33.00 per year. Understand, that's just the starting point. It's a new fund for the state to raid and a new agency for the state to run.
Businesses in the state begged the Senate not to pass this legislation -- especially now -- but it all fell on deaf ears. So what if businesses are leaving New Jersey because the state is overtaxed and over-regulated. Why worry about that?
The vote was pretty much along party lines except that one wimpy Republican (isn't there always at least one?) crossed over to vote for the bill and a couple of Democrats got cold feet.
The bill's sponsor, Democrat Senator Steve Sweeney has been yelping and crying for passage for a couple of years. Sweeney's the guy who holds two state jobs (Freeholder and Senator) and also holds another job with the Iron Worker's Union. Sweeney said he would give up one of the state jobs but, guess what? He changed his mind.
Meanwhile, here in Camden County Congressman Rob Andrews will give up his seat in the U. S. House to run in the Dem primary against Senator Frank Lautenberg. And while that's happening, Andrews' wife will likely be nominated by entrenched Dems to fill his House seat.
The Inquirer reports: "The entry of his wife into the congressional race while he is running for the Senate set off a wave of criticism, with some analysts questioning his commitment to the Senate race and others wondering how voters would feel about being asked to vote for two Andrewses on June 3. Camille Andrews declined to comment yesterday. She is of counsel to the powerful law firm Dilworth Paxson, an associate dean at Rutgers University's law school in Camden, and works for an investment firm in Bala Cynwyd." (THREE jobs, again!)
So, if Andrews loses the Senate bid, his wife can conveniently step aside and he can move back into his House seat. Course, Andrews says that's not why his wife is running and we shouldn't interpret it that way. Sure....of course not....mmm hmmm......
You see, with unaccountable one-party rule you can indeed give new meaning to the term "arrogance of power."
Monday, April 7, 2008
. . . and teachers who write.
It's time to hail two winning professors from opposite ends of the generational spectrum.
Now, she adds, "I'm not a writer who teaches. I'm a teacher who writes. But I had to work at Wake Forest to know that."
She describes the joy she finds in a classroom: "I see all those little faces and big eyes. Black and white. They look like sparrows in the nest. They look up, with their mouths wide open, and I try to drop in everything I know."
She has no plans to retire. She teaches one course each semester at Wake Forest. (Currently it's World Poetry and Drama Performance.)
She writes on yellow legal pads and says that even after all these years, a clean sheet of paper scares and thrills her: "I see a yellow pad, and my knees get weak, and I salivate. I know that sounds like coyness, but I have less coyness than modesty, and I have none of that." She laughs.
Then, he tried "to do something post-modern, just to prove I could, but apparently I couldn't." After three years, "having figured I'd sabotaged my career, I decided to go back to Aliceville (his fiction setting) and see what happened."
You can download recall petitions at recallcorzine.now. All of the instructions are there at the web site.
As you might expect the law in Joisey makes recall very difficult. But if Caleeefohhnyaaahh can do it, why can't we? And remember that nobody gave Californians a chance to succeed when they started their recall effort. Yet, they did succeed in recalling one of the nation's worst governors (Can you even remember the guy's name?) and finding their way out of a financial mess.
Go to recallcorzinenow.com, read the directions carefully, download the petition and start collecting signatures. BTW: Every petition needs to be notarized but you can have a document notarized at your local bank or by any attorney licensed to practice in New Jersey. It's not difficult.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Grammy wining artist Rodney Whittenberg has written the theme song for Mary Patel's new documentary Electile Dysfunction which debuts this Wednesday April 9 at the Prince Theater, Broad and Chestnut at 7:00 PM. Order tickets at www.phillyfests.com/pff/home.cfm
Right now, Governor Corzine and the legislators in Trenton are playing the same old shell game with spending and taxes: threatening cuts to vulnerable and "showcase" services to intimidate the public while continuing to pad their own pork barrel programs; proposing draconian cuts to selected municipalities to alarm local officials and local citizens; suggesting huge increases in other taxes (such as the gasoline tax) to avoid discussing or considering real cuts in state spending and suggesting new taxes (such as local income and/or property taxes) as a way around the issue. All of these are schemes are diversions, pure and simple.
New Jersey must drastically cut the state payroll (68,000+ employees) and cut it now. Three thousand employees cut from 68,430 is a cut of barely more than four percent from a bloated workforce that needs to be cut by at least 15 or 20 percent.
Here are some other ideas:
1) Bring in leaders of private industry to find, cut and eliminate waste and mismanagement.
2) Eliminate all overtime for state workers.
3) Cut patronage jobs and multiple lifetime pensions for government jobs.
4) Eliminate all dual office holding and dual job holding in government.
5) Mandate that the state budget for the new fiscal year be fixed at a point at least 10 percent below last year's budget.
6) Penalize small towns that refuse to merge, consolidate or share services.
7) Consider privatizing some state services (such as parks) where necessary.
10) Rescind recent pay increases given to judges and other government employees.
11) Subject state workers to independent "productivity auditing." If they're not being productive, fire them.
12) Eliminate unfunded state mandates to schools and municipalities.
14) Slash state regulations and eliminate regulatory boards, wherever possible.
15) Reject expensive new programs and mandates such as the proposed family leave plan.
Thus far 36 Jewish superdelegates have declared for Clinton, while Obama has 12 Jewish superdelegates. But 26 Jewish superdelegates are among those who are still undeclared.
“If the Democratic presidential primary comes down to a photo finish, these Jewish insiders could play an outsized role in anointing a nominee at the party’s August convention,” according to the Forward, a Jewish publication that has conducted a new survey of Jewish superdelegates.
Superdelegates are largely elected officials and party officials, and the number of Jewish politicians has grown significantly in the past half-century. In 2006, 33 Jewish candidates were elected to Congress, up from 13 in 1950, the Forward reports.
And over the past 15 years, the Democratic National Committee has had three Jewish chairs.
One of those chairs, Massachusetts-based activist Steve Grossman, is now a Clinton fundraiser. And with Obama ahead of Hillary in pledged delegates and the popular vote, Grossman has sent out an open letter to DNC members urging them not to fall in behind Obama until all state contests are concluded.
Grossman told the Forward that if the result from the disputed Florida primary is counted, and Hillary does well in upcoming primaries, the overall results would be inconclusive and it would be the responsibility of superdelegates to vote their conscience.
The Forward also notes that Hillary has personally been doing some “heavy arm-twisting” in an effort to secure Jewish superdelegates.
Charleton Heston was of that time.
Of course he is best known for his starring roles in epics such as Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments. But few realize that his career actually began on the stage, on Broadway. In 1947, Heston got his first big break, landing the role of Caesar’s lieutenant in a Broadway production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra staged by Guthrie McClintick and starring Katharine Cornell.
Still, Heston's physical stature, deep, penetrating eyes, chiseled features and sheer manliness made it inevitable that Hollywood would beckon. And those of us who saw Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show On Earth in 1952 knew that Heston's portrayal of a hard-driving circus boss had "star" written all over it. From that point on it was pretty much one Big Role after another. The man and the times merged as Hollywood embraced wide-screen epic drama as an answer to the power of the small screen which had come to inhabit everyone's living room.
For me, The Greatest Show On Earth started a lifelong love affair with the circus.
In the 1950s and early 60s Heston championed liberal causes and even marched with Dr. King and stood on the platform with the late civil rights leader at the historic 1963 March On Washington which culminated in the landmark "I Have A Dream" speech.
But like many of us Heston saw the Democrat Party moving further and further to the left and he eventually embraced conservative causes and the candidacy of his good friend and colleague Ronald Reagan.
Charleton Heston was a man of his times - a fully engaged artist, active citizen, leader and patriot who was never afraid to be who he was, to change his mind and to speak out and fight for what he believed in. On the Today Show this morning George Clooney and Brad Pitt were cited as modern day Charleton Hestons. But the truth is that Clooney, Pitt and Affleck together are hardly fit to polish Heston's tombstone.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
But the fact remains that Nixon was the last President to charge nothing for his public speaking appearances after he left the White House.
From the time he left the White House in 1974 until the time of his death in 1994, Nixon never charged a cent for his various speeches and lectures in all parts of the nation and throughout the world. And Nixon was a prolific speaker who always kept up with the issues of the day and was recognized by all as a foreign policy expert.
Nixon remains the only former President over the past 24 years to refuse to profit from his speaking engagements.
I mention this because the Clintons' just-released tax returns show that former President Bill Clinton has racked in $51 million from his speaking engagements since he left the White House in 2001. That's $51 million in little more than seven years - nearly 7.3 million per year or nearly $600,000 per month!
Bill Clinton can be a compelling speaker and goodness knows -- he LOVES to talk (especially about himself). But this is a helluva lot of money by anyone's standards.
For ample evidence of this you need look no further than the unelected superdelegates who are likely to decide the Democrat Party nominee for President this year.
The RNC has created a clever, informative (and funny) site all about the superdelegates and how they can and will be manipulated in a most UNdemocratic fashion.
Of course one of those superdelegates is Joisey's own wacky Governor Jon Corzine. It seems Corzine is pledged (well, sort of pledged) to Clinto but now says he could wind switching his delegate vote to Obama. Forget that Clinton easily carried Joisey. Ya see, Joisey's Governor don't care about that, hon. He's gonna vote in what he perceives to be HIS best interest and to hell with the state.
My, my -- it must be fun to be a superdelegate: sort of like a potentate, only a bit more powerful.
Friday, April 4, 2008
12:45 PM - The Letter (1940)
2:30 PM- The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
4:30 PM - Now, Voyager (1942)
Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2005) TCM original documentary
10:30 PM - Jezebel (1938)
12:30 AM - Dark Victory (1939)
2:30 AM - Dangerous (1935)
4:00 AM - Pocketful Of Miracles (1961)
Is there a greater Broadway star that Julie Andrews? Is there a classier star anywhere? Has any other entertainer given more joy to more people in movies, theatre, on recordings and in live performances? If you can name one, please let me know.